Sunday, May 23, 2010

Love in a Stranger's Arms

Arabel wakes in a Spanish hospital with total amnesia. She is told that she is married to Cortez Ildefonso de la Dura. After being arrested in Venezuela for sheltering two arsonists, Cortez married her in order to take her away from prison and safely to Spain.

Yes, this is yet another amnesia/forced marriage story. I found it very difficult to relate to Arabel. She spends much of her time being alternating between being hysterical, childishly cruel, and terrified. She doesn't remember anything but she has a gut feeling that she hates Cortez and would never have willingly married him, so ends up being very nasty to him. For some reason, she doesn't ask him the obvious questions that I would ask, such as , "How long have we known each other?" His family hate Arabel for being a foreigner, and for not loving and revering him as they feel she ought. They end up being very nasty to her, telling lies about her and try to persuade Cortez to get rid her of. When he is sick in bed and asking for her, they confine her to her room and tell him that she doesn't want to see him although she is actually begging to be by his side. At the end, she regains her memory and everybody gets to live happily ever after. I found it quite unbelievable that Cortez's family never seem to get their comeuppance and magically accept her once she realises that she loves him. Furthermore, the return of her memory was just too convenient. It happens all in a rush and then everything is all right. It would have been more realistic if small pieces had gradually come back to her, giving tantalising hints as the story progressed. Instead, she suddenly remembers how she knew Cortez and everything is resolved. I did enjoy reading this book, but I was left feeling a little unsatisfied.

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